“That number is about the number we’d probably want to transfer to vehicles” says Dr Sasoon.
And to turn this principle into a practical “recharging road” is not as difficult as it seems, he says.
"Road beds are made of asphalt or concrete, but there is often a lot of steel in the roads - a lot of rebar, a lot of ties between the segments of the road and so on,” he said. "What we want to do is use that to our advantage."
He believes they could use much of the metal in the roadbed as part of the transmitter, and then the receiver would use the metal of the car body, again avoiding too many extra structural components.
It may take years, if not decades, until roads are retrofitted in this way. But various firms, including an MIT spin-out called WiTricity, are already taking the first steps by building charging stations for car parks, garages and beyond. And it has already caught the attention of car firms, including Toyota, Mitsubishi and Audi.
“We aim to offer our customers a premium-standard recharging method – easy to use and fully automatic, with no mechanical contacts,” said Dr. Bjorn Elias of Audi Electronics Venture GmbH (AEV), a subsidiary of the car company that is working with WiTricity, recently. “Wherever you park the car, its battery will be recharged – perhaps even at traffic signals.”
Audi – and others – are working to create a public standard and believe that the first units – for use in garages – will go into production in a few years’ time. At that time, Dr Sasoon believes, electric cars will become the technology of choice, displacing our current love of gas guzzlers and banishing the concept of range anxiety forever.
“You never need to worry about stopping and filling up,” he said.
Of course just because our cars can carry on forever does not mean that we will want to. I do not think I can go more than a couple of hundred miles without snacks and a bathroom break. A whole different kind of range anxiety…